As any frequent flyer knows, hauling around a passport, carry-on luggage and suitcase while navigating through an airport can be a real hassle, and the situation is made worse if the traveler in question has any physical health issues. Madrid-based designer Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez has come up with an ingenious solution to this issue: a smart carry-on suitcase named Hop! which follows the traveler around automatically.
Hop! contains three receivers which communicate with an app running on the traveler’s smartphone, via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth data is processed by a micro-controller which calculates the position of the smartphone it is tasked to follow. The same micro-controller also directs a dual caterpillar track-type system on the underside of the smart-suitcase.
Hop! can be configured to follow a number of other Hop! units in a line, and should the smartphone signal be lost or interrupted somehow, the user will receive an alert, and the suitcase locks itself. In an age of increasingly security-conscious airports, there’s some obvious issues to an automatic hands-off carry-on ambling around an airport, but should the relevant authorities allow it, one can imagine such a device proving indispensable for disabled travelers, and convenient for the rest of us.
The smart luggage is manufactured to meet most airline cabin space requirements, measuring 55 x 40 x 20 cm (roughly 21 x 15 x 8 inches). Further to this, Gonzales states that the internal mechanism of his device doesn’t increase the weight of the case significantly, though we’ve received no hard figures on this.
While Hop! is still in development, Gonzalez tells us that he plans to mature his prototype and complement it with a larger suitcase, with a view to eventually bringing both to market.